After escaping with their lives in the quarterfinals against Tucker, the Miller Grove boys removed all the guesswork early and rolled to a 72-38 win over Northside-Columbus in the Class AAAAA semfinals at Kennesaw State.
The No. 1-ranked Wolverines (29-3) jumpted out to a 10-2 lead after one quarter and survived a little second-quarter lapse to earn a spot in the championship game against Gainesville on Friday at the Macon Coliseum. Miller Grove will be playing for its fifth straight state championship.
“We tell our kids that if they play together and play hard, that good things will happen,” said Miller Grove coach Sharman White. “At Miller Grove we want to play for championships every year”
White credited his team’s defensive effort as being crucial in the win. The offense sputtered early, but the defense was strong throughout — challenging shots, scrambling for balls – and never trailed.
“I’m proud of the way our defense played the whole game,” White said. “We executed our game plan and played at a tempo we like to play and that they wouldn’t like.”
Miller Grove got 20 points and seven rebounds Keith Pickney, 13 points from Kyre Hamer, 13 points and six rebounds from Earl Bryant and 10 points and 10 rebounds from James Walker.
No. 3 Northside-Columbus (25-5) did not have a scorer in double figures. R.J. Sessions had a team-high seven points and seven rebounds.
Miller Grove had a 15-4 lead when Alterique Gilbert knocked down a 3-pointer, but Northside responded with a 9-0 run to get back in the game. The comeback was stifled when double technical fouls were called, which Miller Grove used as a jumping off spot for a 15-1 run.
“We did a good job at controlling the tempo on defense and when you do that it opens things up on offense,” White said.
Northside-Columbus (38): Thomas 6, Sears 6, Beverly 3, Sessions 7, Floyd 6, Westbrook 5, Vincent 3, Baker 2.
Miller Grove (72): Pickney 20, Williams 4, Walker 10, Bryant 13, Hamer 13, Gilbert 7, Richardson 3, Boykins 2.
Halftime: Miller Grove 30-15